Earth Day

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Earth Day: The History of A Movement

“Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.  Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.

Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.”

Today, call it Earth Day or anything you like, is a day just like any other. It is what we – each one of us – makes of it.

Morning Poem
by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches—
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead—
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging—

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted—

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

 

How to be Your Best Friend’s Best Friend

Last night a dear friend texted to get help with her brother’s dying dog who happened to be the sibling and litter mate of her own dog. She was worried about her dog as well as her brother’s and wanted to know how they were handling what was going on for them all.
When I went to speak to Sugar, the dog whose death from cancer was imminent, I got a huge wave of concern for my friend. I called her immediately and heard her confusion in what the focus of concern and help should be.
She had a lot going on, the death and possible pain of Sugar, the chance that this could happen to her own dog and her own concern for herself and her brother. A lot of emotional threads.
I think this is the thing I really do in animal communication. I listen for the threads and put them together in a way that soothes the humans involved. The vet had told them Sugar was not in pain, Sugar told me another story and said that this pain was not a big deal, she was ready to die and be away from the discomfort and, yes, pain that life was bringing her now. She was ready was her main theme.
Actually the most impacted was my friend’s dog who was apart from her, she is a nervous dog to begin with and her companion was emotionally torn and confused. Dogs can stand a lot. They have a resilience that boggles our minds and hearts. They are patient and forgiving beyond our wildest imaginations, but it is hard for them to have the people they look to as their chief focus be overwhelmed.
One of the best ways we can help our companions is to take a break, a breath, a walk. Do what they want for a few minutes a few times a day – walks, treats, a little panting never hurts. It could change us into being the humans they treat as if we already are.
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this must be shared – from Mary Oliver

Leda and the Swan

 

From Mary Oliver’s book, Winter Hours

The Swan

Years ago I set three “rules” for myself. Every poem I write, I said, must have a genuine body, it must have sincere energy, and it must have a spiritual purpose. If a poem to my mind failed any one of these categories it was rebuked and redone, or discarded. Over the forty or so years during which writing poems has been my primary activity, I have added other admonitions and consents. I want every poem to “rest” in intensity,. I want  it to be rich with pictures of the world. I want it to carry threads from the perceptually felt world to the intellectual world. I want each poem to indicate a life lived with intelligence, patience, passion, and whimsy (not my life – not necessarily! – but the life of my formal self, the writer).
I want the poem to ask something and, at its best moments, I want the question to remain unanswered. I want it to be clear that answering the question is the reader’s part in an implicit author-reader pact. Last but not least, I want the poem to have a pulse, a breathiness, some moment of earthly delight. (While one is luring the reader into the enclosure of serious subjects, pleasure is by no means an unimportant ingredient.)
“The Swan” has some of these qualities. It has as well a “secret” humor; I was watching geese not swans when I began the poem – that is, thought of the poem, felt it in concept, and wrote down a few lines. Since I had only recently written a poem about geese, I thought I would intensify the poem’s display, and make something even fancier than wild geese out of the beautiful bird shapes I was watching. I thought this fairly funny, and I remember it was therefore with a certain light-hearted pleasure that I proceeded with the description. Though unknown as a fact to the reader, I don’t wonder at all if my mood attuned me more finely than otherwise to my work – I am sure it did.
The form was no problem – long sentences and short lines, a little enjambment to keep things going (the swan is in motion) but not too much, so that the lines, like the swan’s movements are decisive, and keep their dignity. Take out some commas for smoothness and because almost every poem in the universe moves too slowly. Then, once the “actual” is in place (in words), begin to address the reason for taking the reader’s good and valuable time – invite the reader to want to do something beyond merely receiving beauty, and to configure in his or her own mind what that might be. Make sure there is nothing in the poem that would keep the reader from becoming the speaker of the poem. And, that’s all. The final phrase – “touch the shore” – is vital; it is a closure yet it is also a moment of arrival, and therefore a possible new beginning.
The poem in which the reader does not feel himself or herself a participant is a lecture, listened to from an uncomfortable chair, in a stuffy room, inside a building. My poems have all been written – if not finished at least started – somewhere out-of-doors: in the fields, on the shore, under the sky. They are not lectures. The point is not what the poet would make of the moment but what the reader would make of it. If the reader accepts and thinks about its question, “The Swan” accomplishes what it set out to do.

The Swan

Across the wide waters
something comes
floating – a slim
and delicate

ship, filled
with white flowers –
and it moves
on its miraculous muscles

as though time didn’t exist,
as though bringing such gifts
to the dry shore
was a happiness

almost beyond bearing.
And now it turns its dark eyes,
it rearranges
the clouds of its wings,

it trails
an elaborate webbed foot,
the color of charcoal.
Soon it will be here.

Oh, what shall I do
when that poppy-colored beak
rests in my hand?
Said Mrs. Blake of the poet:

I miss my husband’s company –
he is so often
in paradise.
Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles.
It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.
Oh, what will I do, what will I say, when those
white wings
touch the shore?

painting, “Leda and The Swan”   Pam White

Happy New Year!

 

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The Year of the Horse brings great promise. We mostly all love horses, even if we don’t relish the thought of being next to them, we love the promise of them.
This is the year of the Wood Horse, there are many Horse years and I think this is a good one. Here’s why from Wikipedia, “In Chinese Taoist thought, Wood attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of warmth, generosity, co-operation and idealism. The Wood person will be expansive, outgoing and socially conscious. The wood element is one that seeks ways to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity. Wood needs moisture to thrive.”
That all sounds good to me, lets pray for rain!
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This Time of Year

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Whatever you are doing right now, it probably has something to do with family and friends.  So many stories, so much love, longing, regret, and joy. I love the cold and the coming of the light. The stars’ light falls on us all. We are all touched by the beauty of the dark and light surrounding, contrasting, memorializing all we experience. It feels as if there is more quiet, more smiles, more shared music.
When I think about what’s important, what feels right in my heart I am grateful for those who help me understand who I am and grateful to myself for taking up the challenge.

From Brene Brown:

“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

May you gather support from all you feel, from all you touch and are touched by.
May your dreams come gladly to you and leave quietly.
Let light be your angel and the dark your comfort.
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The Road More Or Less Traveled

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There is a morality joke about walking down a street and falling into a hole. Walking down the same street and falling into the hole. Walking down that street and waiting to fall into the hole. Yep. Walking down the street and looking for the hole to fall in to.
We get used to our patterns. They are more than familiar. They are comfortable. We get good at breathing through the stranglehold they have over us. Of course it’s our stranglehold. My strangle, myself.
The teaching is to walk down another street. Or to get agile, unattached and aware.
Paying attention is helpful if it’s part of a willingness to change. My late and ex-husband, in an attempt to loose weight, used to count calories and write down everything he ate. He had small notebooks filled with copious amounts of food usually counting upwards of 5000 calories in a day. It may have made him aware, it never helped him lose weight. Knowing the enemy is not strategic.
Knowing yourself is.
It’s possible if those notebooks had contained how he felt before and when he ate, he might have been healthier. He would have to accept responsibility for the eating instead of choosing to feel helpless and doomed.
Above the temple at Delphi is written, “Know Thyself.” Still the best strategy for any move. With self knowledge it doesn’t matter if I trust you – if I trust me. It doesn’t matter so much where I walk, I can take the terrain or step away. Knowing myself can allow me to feel calm and slow time so I can give myself a choice that works for me.
My nephew David’s son David is a 17 year old whiz at slowing time. I watched this video of him and could feel the time span out so he was in complete control, making it look easy.
He does this because it’s all he’s doing at the time and he’s gained confidence and trust in himself. He’s in the moment, not zoned out doing the same thing. He’s not phoning it in, he’s right there, right now. Full disclosure is he’s been on a motorized vehicle since before his 3rd birthday. That gives him a good 10 + years of experience and an edge on most of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are As We Are

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“Your value to those around you hinges upon only one thing: your personal alignment with Source.”    Abraham via Esther Hicks
After he became the person we know as Buddha, Siddhartha was welcomed as a wise man and story teller. He travelled far and wide at a time when speaking was what there was; we were years from leaflets, books and blogs.
The story in the symbols atop Buddhist monasteries ( I took this in Bouda, one of the Buddhist sections of Kathmandu) is that Siddhartha meditated to study the wheel of life and when he was able to find words for all he had learned, the deer were the only creatures who would listen.
These sweet creatures helped him hone his mind and heart, gave him courage to be who he was, as connected as he was. No more, no less, just as they are. Siddhartha was able to realize his own nature in the study of the natural world. He couldn’t expect the deer to understand or go forth with his lesson. He couldn’t blame them for not or praise them for what they were doing. He could recognize them for who and what they were. And he could do the same for himself.
Basically that’s it. The beginning and end of Buddhist philosophy. Simple and really really hard – lots of attention to what is present, no making up stories, check your facts over and over with your heart, say only what is true and useful. The useful bit implies intention. If you notice your intention, you probably won’t hurt anything and the deer will want to be with you.
20130830-155609.jpgPlease let me be the person my dog thinks I am.

My Mother Myself

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Animals are so wise:

this one is called, “When I was pregnant with my mother.”

I think we are called to families where it is often hard to see why we are there. It’s a lifetime for me of wondering and awe how I came to make the choice I had to make to end up where I am.
All choices, all angles, all around.
As much as I always wanted to be somewhere else when I was young, I never could really fathom what that would be like and tended to cling to what I knew no matter.
What would I do in your family? No clue.

So I’ll take a moment to revel in mine. It does kind of fit by now. Yours too?

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Just Right

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Dear World,

AKA: Universe, My World, What I Want.

Let me roil and thrash with attitude. Let me appreciate all the smells. Let me revel in the autonomy of the day, of night, wind, rain – all natural constants.
Let no other intrude upon me when I need to make my own way.
Let the sky fall wheresoever it will.
Let me appreciate its landing and my place in it.
For this and every other thing I know or don’t
For all above and below, side by side, tethered and free
Let it Be. Let it Be.
Within me the light is strong and the time is here. Now.

Thank you.
HP0014